We are creatures of routine and we absolutely love it! Once we enter the office, we leave our “baggage” at the door and switch on the “work mode”. So naturally, the raging pandemic that’s pushed us all to the confines of our homes, changes the game. Yes, it’s imperative that we all stay safe, taking all the necessary precautions. At the same time, it’s also imperative that work “stays safe”.
Working from home isn’t easy for those of us who aren’t used to it. But, look at it like this, it’s the ultimate test of whether we can indeed maintain our work-life boundaries.
Tips to Stay Productive while Working from Home
So, going forward, here are 7 key pointers to get us through this tough time.
1. Following Working Hours
Yes, we aren’t stepping out of the door, but the clock still stands, and business hours still hold. Keep the discipline. This works both ways. Start and finish at the same time, nothing changes. No lags and no spillovers!
2. Setting up your ‘Work Zone’
Create a workspace, dress for work and carry your work-bag to your space. Meaning, laptops, chargers, pens, notepads and anything else that you might need is at your desk, not around the house. Also, work stays at your workspace, don’t carry it all over the house. This will also help your family/roommates understand your space isn’t up for intrusion.
3. Setting Ground Rules at Home
Which takes us to the next point. Make sure that people at home know that you are working, and aren’t otherwise available for casual conversations and chores during working hours. To them you are invisible, and vice versa! Yes, kids would have a hard time understanding this, give them a day or two, they’ll catch on.
4. Communicate Effectively with your Team
Now that you have a zone, focus on managing work. For people who work in/manage teams, communication is everything. Make sure communication lines are clean, and you get to the point. This ensures you don’t get into a game of “Chinese whisper”. In situations like these, pick up the phone, communicate and clarify.
5. Setting-up Effective Processes
But calling your team every 5 minutes isn’t going to help. Create specific processes to make sure everyone is on the same page, without creating confusion – teams, clients and the management. Team check-ins are great to start and end the day, scrums ensure ownership in operation and execution, and planned meetings ensure healthy collaboration.
6. Effective Time Management
Coffee and lunch breaks still hold. The point being, make sure you make as minimal changes to your routine as possible. This not only helps with the discipline, it also helps you manage your time more effectively. The fact that you and your team don’t have forever to finish a task, ensure deadlines remain tight.
7. Give Time for Improvement
Lastly, don’t get frustrated if things start getting out of line at the beginning. It’s a new process, cut yourself (and your team) some slack. Things will improve in a couple of days!